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Competition for cognitive resources during rapid serial processing: changes across childhood.

Heim S, Wirth N, Keil A - Front Psychol (2011)

Bottom Line: In the symbol task, younger children linearly increased T2 identification with increasing lag.In the verbal task, the older group again exhibited a prominent drop in T2 identification at Lag 2, whereas the younger group showed a more alleviated and temporally diffuse AB impairment.Taken together, this pattern of results suggests that the control of attention allocation and/or working memory consolidation of targets among distractors represents a cognitive skill that emerges during primary school age.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Center for Research on Individual Development and Adaptive Education, German Institute for International Educational Research Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

ABSTRACT
The ability to direct cognitive resources to target objects despite distraction by competing information plays an important role for the development of mental aptitudes and skills. We examined developmental changes of this ability in a cross-sectional design, using the "attentional blink" (AB) paradigm. The AB is a pronounced impairment of T2 report, which occurs when a first (T1) and second target (T2) embedded in a rapid stimulus sequence are separated by at least one distractor and occur within 500 ms of each other. Two groups of children (6- to 7-year-olds and 10- to 11-year-olds; ns = 21 and 24, respectively) were asked to identify green targets in two AB tasks: one using non-linguistic symbols and the other letters or words. The temporal distance or stimulus-onset asynchrony (SOA) between T1 and T2 varied between no intervening distractor (Lag 1, 116-ms SOA) and up to 7 intervening distractors (Lag 8, 928-ms SOA). In the symbol task, younger children linearly increased T2 identification with increasing lag. Older children, however, displayed a hook-shaped pattern as typically seen in adults, with lowest identification reports in T2 symbols at the critical blink interval (Lag 2, 232-ms SOA), and a slight performance gain for the Lag 1 condition. In the verbal task, the older group again exhibited a prominent drop in T2 identification at Lag 2, whereas the younger group showed a more alleviated and temporally diffuse AB impairment. Taken together, this pattern of results suggests that the control of attention allocation and/or working memory consolidation of targets among distractors represents a cognitive skill that emerges during primary school age.

No MeSH data available.


Schematic of the attentional blink design involving either non-linguistic symbols (left panel) or verbal stimuli (right panel). Rapid stimulus presentation was implemented by displaying each stimulus for 50 ms, followed by a blank screen for 66 ms, resulting in a stimulation frequency of 8.7 Hz. Children were asked to indicate the identity of two targets (T1 and T2) shown in green font amidst a series of white distractor items. In the symbol task (left), sketches of a car, airplane, or boat served as T1, and a circle, triangle, or square as T2; other shapes acted as distractors. Verbal stimulus sequences (right) were realized by letters of the alphabet in the younger group and simple nouns (not shown here) in the older group. Each of the present examples illustrates a trial with one intervening distractor between T1 and T2, i.e., Lag 2 with a stimulus-onset asynchrony (SOA) of 232 ms.
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Figure 1: Schematic of the attentional blink design involving either non-linguistic symbols (left panel) or verbal stimuli (right panel). Rapid stimulus presentation was implemented by displaying each stimulus for 50 ms, followed by a blank screen for 66 ms, resulting in a stimulation frequency of 8.7 Hz. Children were asked to indicate the identity of two targets (T1 and T2) shown in green font amidst a series of white distractor items. In the symbol task (left), sketches of a car, airplane, or boat served as T1, and a circle, triangle, or square as T2; other shapes acted as distractors. Verbal stimulus sequences (right) were realized by letters of the alphabet in the younger group and simple nouns (not shown here) in the older group. Each of the present examples illustrates a trial with one intervening distractor between T1 and T2, i.e., Lag 2 with a stimulus-onset asynchrony (SOA) of 232 ms.

Mentions: Intertarget intervals varied to contain none, one, two, four, or seven intervening distractor stimuli (i.e., Lag 1, Lag 2, Lag 3, Lag 5, and Lag 8). Accordingly, stimulus-onset asynchronies (SOAs) were 116 ms (Lag 1), 232 ms (Lag 2), 348 ms (Lag 3), 580 ms (Lag 5), and 928 ms (Lag 8). To avoid anticipation of T1 (first target) occurrence, trials started with a randomized number of 5–25 distractor items. T2 was followed by 10 distractors. Presentation mode was pseudo-randomized, avoiding immediate repetitions of the same target as well as immediate repetitions of trials belonging to the same lag condition. Each AB version comprised 100 trials (20 trials per lag), which were equally divided into two blocks, allowing the child to take a short break. Prior to testing, at least three practice trials per task were administered to demonstrate the procedure and make sure that all children understood the task correctly. A schematic of an example trial for both the non-verbal and verbal AB paradigm is shown in Figure 1.


Competition for cognitive resources during rapid serial processing: changes across childhood.

Heim S, Wirth N, Keil A - Front Psychol (2011)

Schematic of the attentional blink design involving either non-linguistic symbols (left panel) or verbal stimuli (right panel). Rapid stimulus presentation was implemented by displaying each stimulus for 50 ms, followed by a blank screen for 66 ms, resulting in a stimulation frequency of 8.7 Hz. Children were asked to indicate the identity of two targets (T1 and T2) shown in green font amidst a series of white distractor items. In the symbol task (left), sketches of a car, airplane, or boat served as T1, and a circle, triangle, or square as T2; other shapes acted as distractors. Verbal stimulus sequences (right) were realized by letters of the alphabet in the younger group and simple nouns (not shown here) in the older group. Each of the present examples illustrates a trial with one intervening distractor between T1 and T2, i.e., Lag 2 with a stimulus-onset asynchrony (SOA) of 232 ms.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3111399&req=5

Figure 1: Schematic of the attentional blink design involving either non-linguistic symbols (left panel) or verbal stimuli (right panel). Rapid stimulus presentation was implemented by displaying each stimulus for 50 ms, followed by a blank screen for 66 ms, resulting in a stimulation frequency of 8.7 Hz. Children were asked to indicate the identity of two targets (T1 and T2) shown in green font amidst a series of white distractor items. In the symbol task (left), sketches of a car, airplane, or boat served as T1, and a circle, triangle, or square as T2; other shapes acted as distractors. Verbal stimulus sequences (right) were realized by letters of the alphabet in the younger group and simple nouns (not shown here) in the older group. Each of the present examples illustrates a trial with one intervening distractor between T1 and T2, i.e., Lag 2 with a stimulus-onset asynchrony (SOA) of 232 ms.
Mentions: Intertarget intervals varied to contain none, one, two, four, or seven intervening distractor stimuli (i.e., Lag 1, Lag 2, Lag 3, Lag 5, and Lag 8). Accordingly, stimulus-onset asynchronies (SOAs) were 116 ms (Lag 1), 232 ms (Lag 2), 348 ms (Lag 3), 580 ms (Lag 5), and 928 ms (Lag 8). To avoid anticipation of T1 (first target) occurrence, trials started with a randomized number of 5–25 distractor items. T2 was followed by 10 distractors. Presentation mode was pseudo-randomized, avoiding immediate repetitions of the same target as well as immediate repetitions of trials belonging to the same lag condition. Each AB version comprised 100 trials (20 trials per lag), which were equally divided into two blocks, allowing the child to take a short break. Prior to testing, at least three practice trials per task were administered to demonstrate the procedure and make sure that all children understood the task correctly. A schematic of an example trial for both the non-verbal and verbal AB paradigm is shown in Figure 1.

Bottom Line: In the symbol task, younger children linearly increased T2 identification with increasing lag.In the verbal task, the older group again exhibited a prominent drop in T2 identification at Lag 2, whereas the younger group showed a more alleviated and temporally diffuse AB impairment.Taken together, this pattern of results suggests that the control of attention allocation and/or working memory consolidation of targets among distractors represents a cognitive skill that emerges during primary school age.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Center for Research on Individual Development and Adaptive Education, German Institute for International Educational Research Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

ABSTRACT
The ability to direct cognitive resources to target objects despite distraction by competing information plays an important role for the development of mental aptitudes and skills. We examined developmental changes of this ability in a cross-sectional design, using the "attentional blink" (AB) paradigm. The AB is a pronounced impairment of T2 report, which occurs when a first (T1) and second target (T2) embedded in a rapid stimulus sequence are separated by at least one distractor and occur within 500 ms of each other. Two groups of children (6- to 7-year-olds and 10- to 11-year-olds; ns = 21 and 24, respectively) were asked to identify green targets in two AB tasks: one using non-linguistic symbols and the other letters or words. The temporal distance or stimulus-onset asynchrony (SOA) between T1 and T2 varied between no intervening distractor (Lag 1, 116-ms SOA) and up to 7 intervening distractors (Lag 8, 928-ms SOA). In the symbol task, younger children linearly increased T2 identification with increasing lag. Older children, however, displayed a hook-shaped pattern as typically seen in adults, with lowest identification reports in T2 symbols at the critical blink interval (Lag 2, 232-ms SOA), and a slight performance gain for the Lag 1 condition. In the verbal task, the older group again exhibited a prominent drop in T2 identification at Lag 2, whereas the younger group showed a more alleviated and temporally diffuse AB impairment. Taken together, this pattern of results suggests that the control of attention allocation and/or working memory consolidation of targets among distractors represents a cognitive skill that emerges during primary school age.

No MeSH data available.